EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Alexander, Beck, Buck, Fech, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Shea, Spann, Whitt, Wunder
Absent: Miller, Peterson, Wolf
Date: Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Location: 201 Canfield Administration Building
1.0 Call to Order
Wunder called the meeting to order at 2:35 pm.
2.1 Nominations for Executive Committee
Wunder reported that one Senator has agreed to run for election to the Senate Executive Committee. Several other faculty are considering running for the seat vacant due to Wolfs retirement. The Senate election will be held this fall.
2.2 Meeting with Vice Chancellor Jackson
Wunder reported that VC Jackson will attend the August 13th, Executive Committee meeting to discuss the UNL travel policy.
2.3 Early Departure
Wunder reported that he had to leave the meeting early, and the meeting would be turned over to Whitt to conduct upon his departure.
3.0 Chancellor Perlman and VC Owens
3.1 Joint Initiative Between Administration and Faculty Members
Chancellor Perlman reported that he is considering a joint initiative between administration and faculty that would focus on the increasing pressures on faculty. Factors contributing to the pressure include the decrease in number of faculty, decrease in number of tenured faculty positions, restrained resources, and increased pressures nationwide for accountability. He suggested that we should think about a shift in emphasis from teaching to learning which might be more efficient. He noted that looking at changing teaching structures by using different models, for example the use of technology, Keller- type plans, and increased class sizes where appropriate, may work better to free faculty time for higher valued activities and more intensive teaching. Perlman asked the Committee to discuss the issue and indicate if this is an initiative that they would support and be interested in working on. The consensus of the Executive Committee members in attendance was that faculty would be interested in this initiative and that the Committee should discuss the issue further.
3.2 Enrollment Projections for Fall 2003
Chancellor Perlman reported that New Student Enrollment went very well. Enrollment numbers are not definite yet, but indications are the incoming freshman class may be one of the more diverse classes that UNL has had.
3.3 SVCAA Search
Chancellor Perlman stated that the search process will get underway soon. He stated that he has looked at the process used for the last search and will use that as a model. Wunder reported that procedures require the committee to be a majority of faculty members. He noted that the Chancellor sets the number of committee members and the Senate President forwards a list of twice that number of faculty nominees for the Chancellor to select from.
3.4 Role of Tenure Home
3.4.1 Tenure Home and Budget Cutting Process
Wunder asked how tenure home works in the budget cutting process. Chancellor Perlman said the term tenure home is not used anywhere in any documents and he is agnostic about what the best ultimate policy might be. He stated it is a fair assumption that the system at UNL is that tenure homes are in departments, not university wide. He has operated on the assumption that if a program is eliminated it affects tenured faculty in that program. Wunder asked about dual tenure homes and the effect on tenure when one home is eliminated. Chancellor Perlman responded that the administration has tried not to press those limits but faculty members who have virtually no relationship with one of the tenure homes really should not be able to claim it as a tenure home. VC Owens said that in the Institute the assumption is that faculty members have one tenure home. Wunder asked if UNL has a policy on dual tenure homes. Chancellor Perlman responded that there are none to his knowledge, and he recognizes that how we handle dual tenure homes during a budget reduction could create disincentives for some faculty to be willing to enter dual arrangements.
3.4.2 Policy on Transferring Tenure Home
Chancellor Perlman stated that the current policy on transferring tenure homes seems to be right. If he eliminates a program there is nothing that obliges the Chancellor to dismiss everyone. His desire is to find other appropriate positions for terminated tenured faculty. In the current program elimination some faculty were placed in other programs, transferring their tenure home, some even before the program elimination announcement due to the combining of colleges.
3.5 The Use of Retirement Options in the Budget Cutting Process
Whitt noted that the budget cuts are putting pressure on terminated faculty members to make a hasty decision on taking early retirement. Chancellor Perlman stated that the short deadline to opt for early retirement in the last round of budget cuts was reasonable as there is an added contingency to signing. This permits the faculty to sign for retirement but opt out if a position is found elsewhere. Chancellor Perlman stated there is pressure to retire when a program is eliminated, and he is more concerned with the faculty who are not eligible for this option and have nothing. Whitt asked for the current status of terminated faculty. Chancellor Perlman stated that one faculty member in Museum Studies is still in an uncertain status and is considering some options. Some faculty in Health and Human Performance are still searching for positions.
3.6 Other Announcements and Issues
VC Owens reported that an announcement is forthcoming on a new federal program on campus in conjunction with Fish and Wildlife Resources. Chancellor Perlman reported there have been significant new hires in History and several other departments. He noted that Deans have been encouraged to hire in unfilled positions. Alexander asked about the philosophy of hiring super stars and the potential negative impact on other faculty. Chancellor Perlman stated that in the past UNL did not hire laterally very often, but during the past four years there have been opportunities due to funds such as the Othmer funded professorships and other gifts, some which require hiring from outside UNL. He stated he supports this hiring as healthy as it adds leadership to bring in senior faculty. He noted the Bessey and Cather Professorships were initiated to recognize senior faculty members within the university. He stated he is always open to other ways to recognize those currently here.
Whitt asked what the status is of faculty turnover. Chancellor Perlman reported that UNL has had high profile faulty leave this year, and as we build the quality of faculty we will have turnover. He said UNL made a reasonable effort to retain faculty that were leaving and that we need to do a better job of recruiting and retaining quality faculty. He stated that there are remnants of a culture at UNL that does not reward excellence. He noted that the Senate Executive Committee has been uneasy with big differentials in salary, which he feels keeps faculty here.
Fech asked about options for students in HHP. Chancellor Perlman reported that some courses will continue to be offered. He noted that some faculty members are taking early retirement but will still teach some courses, and the departments will be flexible with appropriate waivers and substitutions. They are still working on the problems for the engineering students, which is more difficult due to the number of part-time students.
4.0 Approval of 7/16/03 Minutes
Alexander moved approval of the minutes of 7/16. Buck seconded and all voted approval.
5.0 Southeast Extension Educator Position
Fuller asked if the early retirement of an extension educator at the Southeast Research and Extension Center, indicates the elimination of an extension educator faculty position. Fech and Beck reported that there is no indication that the position will be eliminated. The committee agreed to monitor the number of extension educator faculty positions.
6.0 New Business
Beck requested that the administration be asked for an accounting of the Priority Funds from last fiscal year. One million dollars was designated to be spent. Shea suggested the Senate be asked if the Priority Program Process is the right process for allocation of these funds. Whitt stated he would like the priority programs list reviewed and updated this year and requested that this be issue be added to the agenda for the Executive Committee retreat.
Shea asked that the Committee add the limitations of faculty governance to the retreat agenda. He also asked that the issue of ways of informing the entire faculty of Senate business be added to the retreat agenda.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, August 13 at 2:30 pm. The meeting will be held in 420 University Terrace, Academic Senate Office. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Shelley Fuller, Secretary.